The Governor of Virginia and Norfolk Southern Railway Company have signed an agreement that will work towards returning passenger rail service back to the city of Norfolk for the first time since 1977. This addition will create a round-trip link between Norfolk, Richmond and Washington D.C., passengers will also have the option to continue as far north as Boston.
Norfolk is one of Virginia’s largest cities and is home to many Federal employees and military personnel that will now enjoy additional travel options into the D.C. area. The Governor hopes that the passenger rail service will provide a timely alternative to the heavily congested I-64 and I-95 corridors.
The terms of the agreement allow for upgrades to Norfolk Southern tracks between Norfolk and Petersburg so that they are suitable for use by passenger trains. Funding for the project will come from an $87 million Rail Enhancement Fund grant, which will upgrade signaling, track extensions and will create a platform Norfolk’s Harbor Park for the passenger train. Also included is construction of a new connection between Norfolk Southern and CSXT tracks near Petersburg. Construction is expected to begin next year.
“The partnership between the Commonwealth and Norfolk Southern is a perfect example of business and government working creatively, cooperatively, and quickly to meet a challenge,” said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. “We are proud to be part of a timely and forward-looking response to a pressing public issue.”